By Paul Nilsen
|Montenegro Head Coach Dejan Radonjic did not try to make excuses for Montenegro's dissapointing EuroBasket campaign |
Montenegro headed for EuroBasket 2011 with high expectations and departed Lithuania having failed to live up to them.
While that may sound a little harsh, it's nothing compared to the assessment of straight talking head coach Dejan Radonjic who was bitterly disappointed with the way his players performed in Group C.
In the wake of a hugely impressive qualifying campaign, they were touted as one of the teams who could possibly make a big splash as tournament debutantes but ultimately, they failed to recapture their great form of last summer.
Even an historic first EuroBasket Final Round win wasn't enough to pacify the play-caller who was visibly frustrated as his team finished with four losses to finish bottom of the pile in Alytus.
"We had big expectations for this Group before we came here, much bigger than what we have achieved." stated Radonjic.
"While it is true that it was our first Eurobasket tournament and only have one player with his kind of experience, we are not happy that we failed to get the number of wins we needed to make it to Round 2.
"I think we have enough experience in the team to have got enough wins.
"We have so many players on our roster who all play in strong leagues."
He added, "That should have made it possible for us to meet our own expectations."
His sentiment was echoed by the influential Nikola Pekovic who certainly showed his commitment to the cause by playing right until the end of their campaign with heavy strapping on his leg.
He said, "We need to try to learn something from all of this.
"It was our first EuroBasket but I am sure we could and should have played much, much better because this was not the game we showed during the qualifying for the tournament."
"We head home now knowing we have to try and see what our mistakes were."
Certainly Montenegro weren't the only team in an eventful Group C to be dumped out of the competition earlier than most had expected with neighbours Croatia also failing in their bid to make it to Vilnius and beyond.